ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Former Antigua and Leeward Islands captain, Wilden “Polo” Cornwall, said countries must first stop thinking self and start preparing players for a higher level of competition if cricket within the sub-region is to improve.
The Liberta player said too many countries are guilty of placing emphasis on winning the sub-regional competitions instead of producing quality players.
“The (countries) have got to understand they have to get away from the territorial thinking and think about the bigger picture and how Leeward Islands is going to move forward and how are we going to get players to represent West Indies. If we are going to just continue thinking about Antigua, St. Kitts/Nevis, We cannot get a forceful Leeward Islands team in that way,” Cornwall said.
“We have to continue search and look for players that are really going to dominate Leeward Islands cricket for the next 10 years and make a big impact going forward for West Indies cricket,” he added.
The allrounder, who made 1959 First Class runs and bagged 106 wickets during his tenure, said the level of cricket within the respective countries has drop significantly, which in turn, affects the quality at the top.
“I don’t even think St Kitts have a good cricket programme. Antigua is nose-diving in their programme as well, so at the moment, the state of Leeward Islands cricket just needs to be looked at. Going alone cannot be the answer at this moment, if you can’t have a proper structure in your territory,” Cornwall said.
The player, who made his First Class debut in 1998, lamented the fact that Leeward Islands failed to cease the opportunity presented by the WICB player draft to acquire at least one top level player from outside the normal set-up.
“We had an opportunity to get a difference in Leeward Islands cricket; people with different ideas and people with diffident thinking and we go down here and do the same thing, so we just don’t want to move Leeward Islands cricket forward and we can’t think like that anymore,” Cornwall said.
“When you look at Trinidad grabbing Ramnaresh Sarwan and when you look at Guyana grabbing a guy from Barbados (Raymon Reifer) and these territories are dominating regional cricket and if they see the opportunity to slip Sarwan into their squad to improve certain areas in their cricket, why do we fail to do it,” he added.
Leeward Islands are currently at the bottom of the table in the WICB 4-Day tournament with two points following an innings and 10-run loss to Guyana Jaguars in the opening round of the inaugural Caribbean Professional League.